Monday, August 31, 2009

Does Sexy Clothing = Rape?

There is a discussion between me and A.J. as to whether sexy clothing gets women sexually harrased in the comments section of her post if anyone bother to notice =p
so here is an old opinion of mine i wrote when the issue was a hot topic in Malaysia:

Do sexy clothes land women in trouble?

(the Sun - 21 Dec 2006)

THE Kota Baru Municipal Council’s (MPKB) move to impose a RM500 fine on retail workers who are “dressed indecently” drew a lot of attention lately.

At the heart of the issue is the debate about whether indecent attire actually invites undesirable behaviour from men, especially sexual crimes. From women’s rights activists to government officials and the retail workers themselves, people from every corner of Malaysia are seemingly opposed to the idea, at least that is what the mainstream media want us to believe.

After all, they say that it is utterly preposterous to link sexy attire with incidents of rape and that women should completely absolve themselves if they fall victim to it. In my humble opinion, these so-called popular opinions are based mainly on irrational emotions, strong personal biases and delusions of gender inequality. There are no statistics or empirical evidence provided, no research studies or scientific papers quoted, and no formal reasoning applied whatsoever. But that is exactly what I will attempt to achieve here. In this age of science and reason, random baseless comments do not quite cut it anymore:

» Most rape cases are male-female where 1 in 6 women versus 1 in 33 men are victims of rape (US National Crime Victimisation Survey 2005)

» 80% of the victims are women under the age of 30 (Tjaden and Thoennes 2000)

» Women aged 16-25 are three times more likely to be raped than other women (Bureau of Justice Statistics. Criminal Victimisation in the United States. US Department of Justice,Washington, DC 1991)

» In descending order: In South Africa, a woman is raped every 20 seconds. In America, a woman is raped every two minutes. In Europe, a woman is raped every 10 minutes. In India, a woman is raped every 34 minutes. In Pakistan, a woman is raped every two hours. In Iraq, a woman is raped every 22 hours. In Teheran, Iran, a woman is raped every six days. (BBC, US Department of Justice, Council of Europe, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, UN-OCHA)

» Rape statistics show young and sexually attractive females are raped far more often than older, less sexually attractive females (Warren Farrell, The Myth of Male Power)

» A 1995 survey of almost 2,000 American teenagers found that: (a) almost half felt that rape was sometimes the victim’s fault and (b) 40% agreed that girls who wear sexy clothes are asking to be raped (American Medical Association. Facts About Sexual Assault. Chicago, IL: American Medical Association, 1997)

» There is a strong correlation between wearing revealing clothes and rape cases (Thornhill and Palmer, A Natural History of Rape)

As you may have gathered from the above facts, what this basically boils down to is the following:

» Most rape victims are young women who fell prey to men. Exceptional cases involving children and elderly are relatively very rare.

» Rape cases are more common in Western and non-Muslim countries, and these do not include unreported cases.

» Many youngsters, even in more liberal societies, believe that sometimes women are partly to blame for falling prey to sexual predators due to their provocative behaviour.

» While it is impossible to prove the causal relationship between wearing revealing clothes and rape, there is a strong likelihood that it is one of the contributing factors.

» The facts are figures that merely represent the tip of the iceberg. Feel free to conduct your own research and prove me wrong.

The facts pretty much speak for themselves. Even though the factors that contribute to sexual assault vary greatly (society, upbringing, psychological state, socio-biology, etc), there is very little doubt that donning an indecent attire is one of them. While it is virtually impossible to determine exactly why people perpetrate these heinous crimes, we should stop engaging ourselves in the constant denial that sexy clothes do not contribute to the rise of sexual crimes at all.

Surely the point that no woman’s conduct grants a man the right to sexually assault her can be made without encouraging women to overlook the role they themselves may be playing in compromising their safety. This is not to say that provocatively-clothed women should be totally blamed, rather they should share part of the blame for enticing “high-risk” potential perpetrators, and they should start admitting this fact.

And just because there are elder women and children involved does not mean that we should ignore the much bigger picture. It is like saying that carrying a lot of money on the city streets in plain sight does not at all entice potential criminals to commit robbery, since there are people who keep their money in the bank that are nevertheless robbed. The former can even be committed by an average junkie craving for the next “fix”, while the latter is usually perpetrated by professional robbers who plan for days on end before executing it. Likewise, there are different types of rapists with different fetishes and target victims. So why confuse the two?

Another fallacy is the notion that being able to wear sexy clothes liberates women from the shackles of gender inequality and the delusions under which they operate. Conservative Islamic societies are often blamed for “subjugating women” and denying them of their basic human rights. I cannot help but wonder whether the gender equality issues often cited by some parties include the freedom to compromise their safety by putting on an indecent attire and behaving provocatively, and later on absolving themselves completely and unconditionally after they are sexually assaulted?

Does it also include being able to do all the things that men usually do, like playing physically aggressive contact sports, putting on a male attire and sporting a masculine hairstyle? Well then, if they really insist on having “true gender equality”, why is it that divorced women paying for their ex-husbands’alimony stays a rarity? Why are men still expected to pay thousands of ringgit in dowry on their wedding day, when some wealthy women are more than capable of doing the same thing? Why then do women feel completely fine with men paying for dowry and alimony, and not so fine anymore when other things seem to side with men?

Men and women have different roles to play, and they are both equally vital to the development of a society. God created the gender differences so that we can complement and learn from each other, not to divide us and render one gender superior to the other. We should value and celebrate the differences between us and not create unnecessary and counter-productive issues out of them.

While some issues often cited by women’s rights activists have their merits, others are pure misconceptions about practices that are thought to be Islamic. Problems like honour killings and prohibiting women from furthering their studies or voting in elections essentially run counter to what Islam actually promotes. These are nothing but deviations from the true Islamic path. On the other hand, if we go back 1,400 years to the advent of Islam, we can see that it brought an ocean of change to women. Karen Armstrong, an eminent Western expert on Islam, makes the following comment:

“We must remember what life had been like for women in the pre-Islamic period when female infanticide was the norm and when women had no rights at all. Like slaves, women were treated as an inferior species, who had no legal existence. In such a primitive world, what Muhammad achieved for women was extraordinary. The very idea that a woman could be witness or could inherit anything at all in her own right was astonishing. In fact, during the Crusades some 1,000 years ago, the Roman Catholic Church was totally appalled to witness how Muslims granted women (what seemed to the former as) too much power and too many rights. Women were free to gain knowledge, trade, own businesses, and even engage themselves in politics. Some of these basic rights were not granted to women of the Western hemisphere until relatively recently. If anything, Islam was women’s first liberator and protector.

As shown by the data cited earlier, Western nations, the so-called champions of women’s rights, suffer the most from sexual crimes against women. You cannot help but wonder why their policy of “equality” and “transparency” results in a more dismal situation for women. You also cannot help but wonder why the Islamic policy of “subjugation” has resulted in much lower numbers of rape cases in Muslim countries. In an ideal society where every individual is capable of self-discipline, it makes sense not to impose too many restrictions. But as the statistics show, it is the young, bubbly and attractive women who are at much greater risk of falling prey to sexual predators, and Islamic laws may have just the answer to the problem.

Safwan Kamarrudin

Subang Jaya

so the above is an email i received from an old friend, not the writer of the article though. this was just a forwarded email to me. it has to be said that a lot of noise has been made recently in malaysia and the world about sexy clothing being the cause of rape. personally, i can't guarantee if the statistics quote by our dear mister safwan here is correct. but i however, kinda agree that sexy clothing is a factor of rape. lol, before i'm label as a sexist, please let me explain. i'm not saying guys can't control themselves and that everytime they see some skin that they go "OH MY GOD!!! LET'S RAPE!!! XD

but it is a fact however that seeing sexily dressed women stirs a reaction in them. Come on guys, be frankly honest, just what sort of thoughts enter your mind when u see a really scantily-clad woman? i hardly doubt that your thinking, "oh wow, that SO makes me wanna read a book?"

the difference is, guys like you and me have self control, we don't go act out what we are thinking cause we understand that it's wrong; either that or we haven't got the guts, lol i of course am going with the latter =P

but of course what is sexy is up for debate. take the CCTV incident in Penang i think? they showed what the girl was wearing in the paper.... lol, if thats sexy to those people, then i seriously think they need to get out more. XD

but whatever it is, these are my views only. i won't force them on to anyone cause hey, people will do what they will. (that and the fact i like to "cuci mata" too =p)
but girls, if you would allow me to said just this one thing, please take care of yourselves, the world is getting more and more.... dangerous? be mindful of what signals you are sending when you chose your clothes...

i'm talking about extreme cases of clothing yah, but get me wrong, if it's just something like tight jeans, please la, i'm a K.L boy, that doesn't rattle me XD
but then again it might rattle someone else...

P.S: OMFG! I'm blind! thinking of a Sexy spongebob.... now that I know sends the wrong signals....

i'll stop yakking now XD

-Isyam out-

Anti-Bumming Laws

There have been blaring of trumpets by the authorities regarding the number of degree holders who are jobless. And they point out that it is not because there are not many jobs, but it's just that the graduates tend to be picky with what they want to work as. Therefore, in my constant state of thought through hibernation, i reached upon an epiphany (usually done by filling up my stomach): Why not start a written law against bummers?

This plan revolves around the fact that since the bums need some sort of motivation, usually a carrot, why not use this method as well as the known method of the stick to get them going? (for the uninitiated, the carrot and stick method involves motivation either by praise and rewards, i.e. carrots, or reprimands and punishments, i.e. sticks)

What the act (hereby called Anti-Bumming Act, or ABA. Catchy..) would do is basically reward those who find jobs by giving them a 100 ringgit bonus in monthly salary for the first 5 or 6 months of employment. To prevent job hopping, the authorities should actually allow the companies to forfeit the pay if the bums quit before the time is up, and disqualify them from ever getting anymore bonuses even if they tried working again in another company. This is, in my opinion, the carrot-stick theory.

Whereas the stick theory (which i must say is more interesting) involves the graduate's degree becoming 'frozen' upon non-employment for a maximum of 2 years after graduation. To re-activate the 'frozen' degree, they shall, perhaps, have to take a test or a semester of 'refreshment course' in their respective universities to get them back on their feet, as 2 years would most probably make their cogs in their brain rust due to the inactivity and junk they accumulate throughout the years.

Why i say that 2 years is a reasonable set time is because i reckon that it is more than enough relaxation before entering the rat race (well truth be told it is also because i feel that i would want to take a gap year and therefore it is wise to make a lacuna for myself:P). Anyway, honestly speaking, 2 years would be a reasonable time to allow graduates to find jobs, and also allow them to have fun and relax, to show that the authorities still consider the needs of graduates. Had they not felt that way, i reckon they could reduce the maximum duration of unemployment to a year.

Thus, with all this in mind, i do feel that the ABA shall be an awesome act that would really improve the productivity of our nation, as well as usher in a surge of employment! Anyone who opposes this view, all i can say is 'en garde'. But do write your views down on how to improve it! Maybe write the interpretation section down too just for the fun of it! Till next time..


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Merdeka Celebrations

The eve of 31st August and there's all this hype about Merdeka celebrations. If you're not out at the main spots tonight, you are destined to be a loser for life. Right.
Anyways, what caught my attention is, the fact that everyone seems to think that they're celebrating Independence Day by going out, watching some concerts, fireworks, having "fun" and all sorts of things which shouldn't be mentioned but you know what I'm talking about.
Is that really what independence is about?
We learn history, though I must admit most of us sleep in history class, but bit by bit, there must be some sort of historical value that sticks in our brains. The struggles of our leaders just to free us from the clutches of colonialism and what do we do 52 years later?
We party it up and mess up Dataran Merdeka/KlCC/The Curve/and a bunch of other hotspots.
That's real nice. But you know what would be better?
If we could all look up our history notes and remember the hardship and tribulations.
Cause that's what Independence is about. Not who went to which party.

P/S-I know Tailerag is meant for legal articles, but this just crossed my mind. So what the heck right?


Friday, August 21, 2009

Harassment on the LRT- is there a solution?

It just occured to me (yes I do realize I am quite slow), that every one has been subjected to sexual harassment in some point in their life. It doesn't matter whether you are drop dead gorgeous like Jessica Michibata or a fantasy girl like Caprice raps of or as voluptuous as Kim Kardashian, it doesn't matter whether you were in a mall, work, class, a club, etc,
the main point is as long as you're a girl (or a guy), chances are, you've been a victim, but God knows to what extent.

Basically,sexual harassment refers to unwelcome sexual advances. Note, unwelcome. It doesn't matter what gender you are, it certainly doesn't matter whether it was an act of an opposite gender or of the same gender (oh come on, we live in a bisexual world) or of sexually offensive remarks or acts. Any means which will make you feel violated in any way. If you consent to it, it's not really harassment,is it?

In the past few days, a couple of my own close friends were victims of sexual harassment on the LRT.
First and far most before I continue, don't you even think of blaming it on the girls attire.
Cause these girls were decently dressed in hijab and baju kurung. And I know as a matter of fact, I've seen girls in short skirts and shorts not get an inch from these predators.
Back to the main point, imagine, public transport. Where everyone is in a hurry to get from one place to another, to even bother about the going ons of the next person. Sexual harassment predators take their chances then.

But none of them care to report or scream the matter when it happens. All of them fear that no one else sees the occurrence, thus coloring them little kids crying wolf over nothing. The fact that this happens is, these predators are smart, in crowded areas, you can't really sense whether it was done intentionally or by accident. But one thing that the victims do know is, they were violated, regardless of intention.

So what's there to do?
Is there no solution for these victimised ladies?
That's a question I throw back to you to figure out.